Indexed on: 31 Mar '09Published on: 31 Mar '09Published in: Vector borne and zoonotic diseases (Larchmont, N.Y.)
Granulocytic anaplasmosis (GA) is an emerging tick-transmitted disease that persists in rodent- Ixodes ricinus-complex tick cycles across the Holarctic. Although the putative reservoir for anaplasmosis in the western United States is the dusky-footed woodrat (Neotoma fuscipes), this rodent was not shown reservoir-competent because of failure of infection from woodrats to other animals via ticks. Redwood chipmunks are common in habitats where Anaplasma phagocytophilum is common, have high PCR- and seroprevalence, and are infested with a diversity of Ixodes spp. ticks. Experimental infection of seven wild-caught A. phagocytophilum-negative redwood chipmunks induced persistent periods of recurrent rickettsemia during the persistent phase of infection. Of three animals for which xenodiagnosis was attempted, all successfully infected pools of I. pacificus larvae during the primary rickettsemia. We show that chipmunks are reservoir-competent for GA and may be important for maintaining infection in nature.